I’ve started a new blog at www.droppingtheact.com. Check it out for the latest content.
My plan is for the Confessions… series to become a regular part of the blog, but we’ll see just how much confessing I can stand!
I’m a sinner. Shocking, I know. But seriously, what is shocking is that I lived my life, up until a few years ago, as if that wasn’t the case. Sure, I knew that I was a sinner, I had read it repeatedly in the Bible and memorized verses that spelled it out in black and white, but I never really knew it. In fact, I never would have admitted this out loud, of course, but I felt like I pretty much had the whole Christian living thing down. Asked Jesus into my heart? (Um, when I was 5-years-old) Check. Didn’t cuss? Check. Youth pastor’s wife? Check. I was mentally checking off the boxes on my “good Christian” checklist without ever recognizing that, deep down, I was a Pharisee. If you’ve read anything about them in the Bible you know that they were known for all the things they were against, and Jesus repeatedly rebuked them for getting between him and people who really needed him with all of their religious rules. But when we moved to India in 2007, I was finally confronted with how much I had in common with those reviled religious leaders of old.
Spiritually speaking, living in India was like walking into a cage full of brown bears with a salmon strapped to my chest. It was a daily assault, and in the midst of the pressure cooker of Third World living my religious facade began to crack, and I began to see the true condition of my heart in a way that I never had before. What I saw wasn’t pretty. But everything changed the day I stood, shaking with a rage (about something stupid, loud Divali music) like I had never felt before, and I realized that, in that moment, I was capable of a level of violence that I never imagined possible (I didn’t act on it, in case any of you are worried) but that’s when it finally hit me. I was (am) a wreck without Jesus. I am a sinner, and I needed someone to rescue me from myself. In that moment I realized that my sins weren’t any smaller or bigger than the brothel madam or the murderer in prison–in the eyes of Jesus they were the same–we were the same. Up until that point I had found it very easy to look down my nose (or turn it up in disgust) at all of the other “sinners” that I encountered, until I realized that I was just like them. The only difference was Jesus, and his grace and forgiveness.
The book of Luke recounts a story that Jesus told to Simon, a Pharisee, in response to his disgust that Jesus would allow a prostitute to wash his feet with her tears and hair. Jesus said, “‘Two men were in debt to a banker. One owed five hundred silver pieces, the other fifty. Neither of them could pay up, and so the banker canceled both debts. Which of the two would be more grateful?’
Simon answered, ‘I suppose the one who was forgiven the most.’
‘That’s right,’ said Jesus…(speaking of the prostitute, he said) ”” (Luke 7:41-47 The Message)
Reading that passage, I weep for all of the years that my gratitude was so minimal because I believed I needed so little forgiveness. Now I know better, and I am so very, very grateful for God’s love and grace, and the opportunity to share it with others!
Have you ever been guilty of knowing something about God but not really knowing it in your heart?
How has that affected your relationship with people around you?